Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Convenience Food Reviews and Countdown: 2 days!

Regular readers and friends know I like to cook and bake on Saturdays and eat leftovers or simpler meals for most of the week. It's inexpensive, gives me a chance to try new recipes, eat well, and still fit cooking into a life that is, at least for the moment, very full of studying.

Sometimes though, I do rely on prepackaged meals, especially if I've just been away for the weekend, or for non-leftover-based lunches I can take to the university when I spend the day there studying. I'm always on the lookout for tasty new ones, so here's my thoughts on some I've tried lately:

1. Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake
2. Trader Joe's Green Papaya Salad 
3. Trader Joe's Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas
4. Tasty Bite Kerala Vegetables and Target Brand (Market Pantry) Precooked Brown Rice. 


1. Kashi Mayan Harvest Bake

Kashi makes 3 frozen vegan entrees. I can't really afford them with any regularity, but when they go below $3.00 each on sale, sometimes I make the splurge. 

Here's my previous reviews of the Black Bean Mango and here's Tuscan Veggie Bake.

The last one to try? Mayan Harvest Bake. Unfortunately these cell phone pics are even worse than usual.

I really love them all, but this is my favorite for sure. Wow. The mix of textures was great, and as usual you can count on them to have way more veggies than your standard frozen meal. 

2. Trader Joe's Green Papaya Salad

I didn't really know what to make of this one. I was skeptical as I was putting it together, but the flavors are honestly awesome. 

The prep isn't really what I look for in a packaged meal, because you need your own dish, and you microwave it but just enough to defrost. I sort of think it might work better to just put the papaya packet and dressing together in a tupperware and keep it out of the freezer until dinner time to thaw, but the defrost microwaving definitely worked fine.

That said, the taste was a wonderful mix of thai flavors, crunchy and spicy.


3. Trader Joe's Black Bean and Corn Enchiladas

If possible, I like these even better than the Amy's ones of similar makeup, and they actually fit my budget. There's tofu, plenty of sauce, and they didn't skimp on the veggies either. Seriously, Trader Joe's knows where it's at. This one was actually today's lunch. Eaten while sitting outside and trying not to enter study panic mode.


4. Tasty Bite Kerala Vegetables and Target's Precooked Brown Rice

As usual, I added steamed veggies. I'm incapable of resisting.

Tasty Bite: This is possibly my favorite Tasty Bite Indian flavor. It's a little bit coconutty, lots of vegetables, and the curry has a kick that isn't overwhelming - I'm not a huge fan of spicy. 

Rice: I prefer the Trader Joe's precooked, this one had a bit too much added oil (based on the nutrition facts, I'm pretty sure it's an extra teaspoon per cup), but it definitely serves the purpose and completes the meal when I don't have an hour to cook my own brown rice.

And so, packaged meal in hand, back to the books.

Boards countdown: 2 Days! How? How did this happen?

I'm not quite sure what to do. You can't really cram a test that covers 2 years worth of knowledge, but how is it that I feel there's so much I still wanted to review but haven't?

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